Friday, February 1, 2008

Leonardo the Terrible Monster

Author/Illustrator: Willems, Mo
Publisher and Date: Hyperion Books for Children 2005
Genre: Picture book
Age Range: K-2

Summary: This picture book is about a discouraged little monster named Leonardo. He is not good at scaring like the other monsters. After much research he finds a boy named Sam to scare. Sam is having a bad day and is not scared by Leonardo. Leonardo decides to become a friend to Sam instead of being a terrible monster.

Response: I love the story of Leonardo the Terrible Monster! The illustrations were very well done and it reminded me somewhat of Where the Wild Things Are.
I think the story does good with the underlying theme of bullying. Most kids who are bullies do so because they are insecure about themselves just as Leonardo was. They feel better if they can pick on someone else and make them feel bad or upset. I like how in the end Leonardo and Sam become friends because Leonardo realizes that is really what Sam needs.
Something that made me laugh was the expression 'scare the tuna salad out of him' that Willems used in this book. It is just such a silly expression and it adds a lightheartedness to the story.

Teaching Ideas: This would be a great story to read any time to the class throughout the year. Bullying is an issue that never really dissipates among children and should be addressed, especially in younger grades. Children in the class could be challenged to make a new friend (like Leonardo made friends with Sam) or to make up with someone they did or said something mean to.

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